Players will get over nervous start: Mancini

Sep 15, 2011, 13:44 IST | AFP

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini tipped his expensively-assembled team to overcome their Champions League nerves after making a "naive" return to Europe's elite competition on Wednesday.

Mancini admitted his side had suffered a bout of stage fright after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Serie A side Napoli at the Etihad Stadium in their opening Group A game.

While the result is by no means a disaster, City already find themselves under pressure ahead of their next match away to Bayern Munich, who opened their campaign with a 2-0 victory over Villarreal in Spain, on September 27.

But Mancini is confident his side can recover from their shaky start and win in Germany.

"I think before the game we were so nervous because it was the first game," said Mancini, after watching Aleksander Kolarov salvage a point after Edinson Cavani had fired Napoli into the lead. 

"All the players wanted to win this game and they all wanted to score. If we play easy, simple, we can play better. But it was the first game, I enjoyed it, all the players played at 100 percent and against Napoli that was a good result."

Mancini, who played in the Sampdoria side beaten by Barcelona in the 1992 final, predicted the Bayern match would be a calmer affair.

"All the games will be important. We can do better in Munich because it's the second game," said Mancini.

"I think the second game will be more calm. Bayern Munich are a fantastic team but we have a team that can win very well." 

Mancini urged his players to return to basics after accusing them of being naive and leapt to the defence of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri, who were all guilty of spurning chances.

"Did we show a bit of naivety? Yes, absolutely. But I'm happy with our performance," added the Italian.

"I think that the result is fair in the end.

"We need to improve like a team, we have fantastic players. Every game in the Champions League is different and difficult, for us it's important to play simple football.

"If we do this we will play better football. A team like us can't concede a goal like we did.

"When we lost that ball we didn't have any midfielders in front of the defenders. For 10 minutes we left a lot of space for the Napoli players, and this can't happen.

"The last two group games may determine who goes through, but Napoli were very good in defence.

"It was maybe the pressure to perform in the second half but the players need to understand to play simply. Putting seven or eight players forward was not what should have happened.

  "I think it's impossible that our strikers can score three or four goals in every game. Napoli defended very well.

"They played with three central defenders and it's difficult." 

Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri also admitted his players were "tense" before the club's Champions League debut.

"As soon as we went 1-0 up I was very happy," said Mazzarri.

"I saw my team create lots of chances. But I am unsatisfied. In such a big game maybe we were all a bit tense."

On his team's chances of qualifying after the City result and Bayern Munich's victory, Mazzarri added: "It's too early to talk about that. We don't look at how the other teams are doing."

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